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Translated from: Die Burger , 11 August 2004


Carien du Plessis

MTHATHA - Migration from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town is reaching critical proportions, the city manager of the Cape Town City council, Dr Wallace Mgoqi, has said.

Over 20 000 families or heads of families per year are leaving the province to find jobs in the Western Cape, but there are no houses and the city council can build only about 11 000 houses per year. Cape Town is already experiencing a backlog of 42 000 houses.

The migrants do not leave the province on a permanent basis.

Mgoqi said many of them return to their families within the first six months.

Mr Gcobani Maswana, spokesman for the Eastern Cape department of social development, said the migrants also return when they fail to find jobs or when they start to notice aids symptoms.

The migrants who return to the Eastern Cape then apply for disability grants, causing them to rely heavily on the already overburdened welfare system. The department is presently revising 78 000 of these applications, as many of them are false.

Mgoqi said the Cape City Council has now come to realise that this is a mutual problem. Last week the city council signed an agreement with the O.R.Tambo District Municipality and the University of the Transkei to help kerb this type of migration.

According to the agreement, the first of its kind between the two provinces, these three bodies are planning to exchange information, especially about economic development, to improve services for their citizens. Tax benefits are already being planned for industries providing jobs for locals in the Mthatha area.

Mgoqi said these plans will take shape within the next month.

He also referred to the enormous potential for development, especially in the tourism sector.

Much more should be done to enlarge the capacity of this rural municipality in respect of housing, services and jobs. All state departments must join hands to help.

Maswana said the main cause of migration is poverty.

The Eastern Cape government has set aside funds for public job creation programmes that offer people the opportunity to acquire skills.

In addition, the provincial government has a growth and development programme teaching people how to plough and plant food in order to make them self-sufficient.

About 1,8 million people live in the O.R. Tambo district municipality and the Western Cape will not be able to absorb all these people unless actual steps are taken to prohibit migration. “Very few people realise the seriousness of the situation. This is a time bomb,” Mgoqi said.

Most of the migrants to Cape Town come from the Eastern Cape.

Mgoqi said many of them come from neighbouring countries and then migrate as far as Cape Town.

Translated from: Die Burger , 11 August 2004

4. The population of the Western Cape is growing very fast, especially in and around Cape Town

Activity 4:

To discuss the problems around migration

[lo 1.6]

a) Newspaper report no. 4 mentions the main reason for migration. Copy that particular sentence in big letters in the space provided below.

Questions & Answers

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